Propaganda and public perception manipulation

“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it.”

John Pilger

Propaganda_
From Anti-Propaganda Propaganda

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding an “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach. Personally I prefer the following definition provided by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”

What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state usually associated with Nazis and Communism.

nazi_poster
From 10 Most Evil Propaganda Techniques

Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void in our society that could be manipulated by propaganda.  Is that really so?

Propaganda does not always come in a form of posters or slogans. As history shows, selection of certain story angles and facts for the mass media distribution is a much more effective away of manipulating public perception while maintaining the illusions of personal freedom and choice. The media’s truly the most powerful entity on earth when it comes to propaganda. Internet can facilitate the spread of facts and real life photos misrepresented in line with a certain agenda and supported by false generalisations such as “we are all good, they are all bad” etc.

media-manipulation
From www.whaleoil.co.nz

What can we do to counteract propaganda in our societies? Not all people can write anti-propaganda articles and make films like John Pilger. However we all can:

  • learn to critically evaluate everything we see and hear
  • teach our children to question everything and think critically
  • challenge our own beliefs and biases that we were brought up with
  • open our minds to new perspectives and points of view.
  • make friends with people from different cultural backgrounds to learn more about their lives and beliefs
  • engage in discussions with people from different cultural backgrounds to build relationships, improve understanding and dispell any existing myths and propaganda.
  • read and learn more about other cultures and other people.

I’m very grateful to all people the blogosphere who helped me to learn more about their cultures and beliefs and dispelled some of the myths I was brought up with. We are the world, we are the people, we are one great family. It is time to realise that a change can only come when we stand together as one.


Resources:

THE END

Bride of the Sun and Sister of the Moon

( from “Don Juan”  by Lord Byron, 1824)

A crowd of shivering slaves of every nation,
And age, and sex, were in the market ranged;
Each bevy with the merchant in his station:
Poor creatures! their good looks were sadly changed.
All save the blacks seem’d jaded with vexation,
From friends, and home, and freedom far estranged;
The negroes more philosophy display’d, —
Used to it, no doubt, as eels are to be flay’d…

Juan was juvenile, and thus was full,
As most at his age are, of hope and health;
Yet I must own he looked a little dull,
And now and then a tear stole down by stealth;
Perhaps his recent loss of blood might pull
His spirit down; and then the loss of wealth,
A mistress, and such comfortable quarters,
To be put up for auction amongst Tartars,

Were things to shake a stoic; ne’ertheless,
Upon the whole his carriage was serene:
His figure, and the splendour of his dress,
Of which some gilded remnants still were seen,
Drew all eyes on him, giving them to guess
He was above the vulgar by his mien;
And then, though pale, he was so very handsome;
And then — they calculated on his ransom…

Just now a black old neutral personage
Of the third sex stept up, and peering over
The captives, seem’d to mark their looks and age,
And capabilities, as to discover
If they were fitted for the purposed cage:
No lady e’er is ogled by a lover,
Horse by a blackleg, broadcloth by a tailor,
Fee by a counsel, felon by a jailor,

As is a slave by his intended bidder.
‘T is pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures;
And all are to be sold, if you consider
Their passions, and are dext’rous; some by features
Are bought up, others by a warlike leader,
Some by a place — as tend their years or natures;
The most by ready cash — but all have prices,
From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.

The eunuch, having eyed them o’er with care,
Turn’d to the merchant, and begun to bid
First but for one, and after for the pair;
They haggled, wrangled, swore, too — so they did!
As though they were in a mere Christian fair
Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid;
So that their bargain sounded like a battle
For this superior yoke of human cattle…

The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance
Bore off his bargains to a gilded boat,
Embark’d himself and them, and off they went thence
As fast as oars could pull and water float;
They look’d like persons being led to sentence,
Wondering what next, till the caïque was brought
Up in a little creek below a wall
O’ertopp’d with cypresses, dark-green and tall…

Baba eyed Juan, and said, “Be so good
As dress yourself-” and pointed out a suit
In which a Princess with great pleasure would
Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute,
As not being in a masquerading mood,
Gave it a slight kick with his Christian foot;
And when the old negro told him to “Get ready,”
Replied, “Old gentleman, I’m not a lady.”

“What you may be, I neither know nor care,”
Said Baba; “but pray do as I desire:
I have no more time nor many words to spare.”
“At least,” said Juan, “sure I may enquire
The cause of this odd travesty?” — “Forbear,”
Said Baba, “to be curious; ‘t will transpire,
No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season:
I have no authority to tell the reason.” …

“I offer you a handsome suit of clothes:
A woman’s, true; but then there is a cause
Why you should wear them.” — “What, though my soul loathes
The effeminate garb?” — thus, after a short pause,
Sigh’d Juan, muttering also some slight oaths,
“What the devil shall I do with all this gauze?”
Thus he profanely term’d the finest lace
Which e’er set off a marriage-morning face…

One difficulty still remain’d — his hair
Was hardly long enough; but Baba found
So many false long tresses all to spare,
That soon his head was most completely crown’d,
After the manner then in fashion there;
And this addition with such gems was bound
As suited the ensemble of his toilet,
While Baba made him comb his head and oil it.

And now being femininely all array’d,
With some small aid from scissors, paint, and tweezers,
He look’d in almost all respects a maid,
And Baba smilingly exclaim’d, “You see, sirs,
A perfect transformation here display’d;
And now, then, you must come along with me, sirs,
That is — the Lady:” clapping his hands twice,
Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice.

“You, sir,” said Baba, nodding to the one,
‘Will please to accompany those gentlemen
To supper; but you, worthy Christian nun,
Will follow me: no trifling, sir; for when
I say a thing, it must at once be done.
What fear you? think you this a lion’s den?
Why, ‘t is a palace; where the truly wise
Anticipate the Prophet’s paradise…

Before they enter’d, Baba paused to hint
To Juan some slight lessons as his guide:
“If you could just contrive,” he said, “to stint
That somewhat manly majesty of stride,
‘T would be as well, and (though there’s not much in ‘t)
To swing a little less from side to side,
Which has at times an aspect of the oddest; —
And also could you look a little modest,

“‘T would be convenient; for these mutes have eyes
Like needles, which may pierce those petticoats;
And if they should discover your disguise,
You know how near us the deep Bosphorus floats;
And you and I may chance, ere morning rise,
To find our way to Marmora without boats,
Stitch’d up in sacks — a mode of navigation
A good deal practised here upon occasion.”

With this encouragement, he led the way
Into a room still nobler than the last;
A rich confusion form’d a disarray
In such sort, that the eye along it cast
Could hardly carry anything away,
Object on object flash’d so bright and fast;
A dazzling mass of gems, and gold, and glitter,
Magnificently mingled in a litter…

In this imperial hall, at distance lay
Under a canopy, and there reclined
Quite in a confidential queenly way,
A lady; Baba stopp’d, and kneeling sign’d
To Juan, who though not much used to pray,
Knelt down by instinct, wondering in his mind,
What all this meant: while Baba bow’d and bended
His head, until the ceremony ended.

The lady rising up with such an air
As Venus rose with from the wave, on them
Bent like an antelope a Paphian pair
Of eyes, which put out each surrounding gem;
And raising up an arm as moonlight fair,
She sign’d to Baba, who first kiss’d the hem
Of her deep purple robe, and speaking low,
Pointed to Juan who remain’d below.

Her presence was as lofty as her state;
Her beauty of that overpowering kind,
Whose force description only would abate:
I’d rather leave it much to your own mind,
Than lessen it by what I could relate
Of forms and features; it would strike you blind
Could I do justice to the full detail;
So, luckily for both, my phrases fail…

She spake some words to her attendants, who
Composed a choir of girls, ten or a dozen,
And were all clad alike; like Juan, too,
Who wore their uniform, by Baba chosen;
They form’d a very nymph-like looking crew,
Which might have call’d Diana’s chorus “cousin,”
As far as outward show may correspond;
I won’t be bail for anything beyond…

The lady eyed him o’er and o’er, and bade
Baba retire, which he obey’d in style,
As if well used to the retreating trade;
And taking hints in good part all the while,
He whisper’d Juan not to be afraid,
And looking on him with a sort of smile,
Took leave, with such a face of satisfaction
As good men wear who have done a virtuous action.

When he was gone, there was a sudden change:
I know not what might be the lady’s thought,
But o’er her bright brow flash’d a tumult strange,
And into her dear cheek the blood was brought,
Blood-red as sunset summer clouds which range
The verge of Heaven; and in her large eyes wrought,
A mixture of sensations might be scann’d,
Of half voluptuousness and half command.

Her form had all the softness of her sex,
Her features all the sweetness of the devil,
When he put on the cherub to perplex
Eve, and paved (God knows how) the road to evil;
The sun himself was scarce more free from specks
Than she from aught at which the eye could cavil;
Yet, somehow, there was something somewhere wanting,
As if she rather order’d than was granting…

Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;
Her very nod was not an inclination;
There was a self-will even in her small feet,
As though they were quite conscious of her station —
They trod as upon necks; and to complete
Her state (it is the custom of her nation),
A poniard deck’d her girdle, as the sign
She was a sultan’s bride (thank Heaven, not mine!)…

Whate’er she saw and coveted was brought;
Whate’er she did not see, if she supposed
It might be seen, with diligence was sought,
And when ‘t was found straightway the bargain closed;
There was no end unto the things she bought,
Nor to the trouble which her fancies caused;
Yet even her tyranny had such a grace,
The women pardon’d all except her face.

Juan, the latest of her whims, had caught
Her eye in passing on his way to sale;
She order’d him directly to be bought,
And Baba, who had ne’er been known to fail
In any kind of mischief to be wrought,
At all such auctions knew how to prevail:
She had no prudence, but he had; and this
Explains the garb which Juan took amiss…

But to the main point, where we have been tending: —
She now conceived all difficulties past,
And deem’d herself extremely condescending
When, being made her property at last,
Without more preface, in her blue eyes blending
Passion and power, a glance on him she cast,
And merely saying, “Christian, canst thou love?”
Conceived that phrase was quite enough to move.

At length, in an imperial way, she laid
Her hand on his, and bending on him eyes
Which needed not an empire to persuade,
Look’d into his for love, where none replies:
Her brow grew black, but she would not upbraid,
That being the last thing a proud woman tries;
She rose, and pausing one chaste moment, threw
Herself upon his breast, and there she grew…

This was an awkward test, as Juan found,
But he was steel’d by sorrow, wrath, and pride:
With gentle force her white arms he unwound,
And seated her all drooping by his side,
Then rising haughtily he glanced around,
And looking coldly in her face, he cried,
“The prison’d eagle will not pair, nor I
Serve a Sultana’s sensual phantasy.

“Thou ask’st if I can love? be this the proof
How much I have loved — that I love not thee!
In this vile garb, the distaff, web, and woof,
Were fitter for me: Love is for the free!
I am not dazzled by this splendid roof,
Whate’er thy power, and great it seems to be;
Heads bow, knees bend, eyes watch around a throne,
And hands obey — our hearts are still our own.” …

A tigress robb’d of young, a lioness,
Or any interesting beast of prey,
Are similes at hand for the distress
Of ladies who can not have their own way;
But though my turn will not be served with less,
These don’t express one half what I should say:
For what is stealing young ones, few or many,
To cutting short their hopes of having any? …

If I said fire flash’d from Gulbeyaz’ eyes,
‘T were nothing — for her eyes flash’d always fire;
Or said her cheeks assumed the deepest dyes,
I should but bring disgrace upon the dyer,
So supernatural was her passion’s rise;
For ne’er till now she knew a check’d desire:
Even ye who know what a check’d woman is
(Enough, God knows!) would much fall short of this.

Her rage was but a minute’s, and ‘t was well —
A moment’s more had slain her; but the while
It lasted ‘t was like a short glimpse of hell:
Nought’s more sublime than energetic bile,
Though horrible to see yet grand to tell,
Like ocean warring ‘gainst a rocky isle;
And the deep passions flashing through her form
Made her a beautiful embodied storm…

Her first thought was to cut off Juan’s head;
Her second, to cut only his — acquaintance;
Her third, to ask him where he had been bred;
Her fourth, to rally him into repentance;
Her fifth, to call her maids and go to bed;
Her sixth, to stab herself; her seventh, to sentence
The lash to Baba: — but her grand resource
Was to sit down again, and cry of course…

Juan was moved; he had made up his mind
To be impaled, or quarter’d as a dish
For dogs, or to be slain with pangs refined,
Or thrown to lions, or made baits for fish,
And thus heroically stood resign’d,
Rather than sin — except to his own wish:
But all his great preparatives for dying
Dissolved like snow before a woman crying…

So he began to stammer some excuses;
But words are not enough in such a matter,
Although you borrow’d all that e’er the muses
Have sung, or even a Dandy’s dandiest chatter,
Or all the figures Castlereagh abuses;
Just as a languid smile began to flatter
His peace was making, but before he ventured
Further, old Baba rather briskly enter’d.

“Bride of the Sun! and Sister of the Moon!”
(‘T was thus he spake) “and Empress of the Earth!
Whose frown would put the spheres all out of tune,
Whose smile makes all the planets dance with mirth,
Your slave brings tidings — he hopes not too soon —
Which your sublime attention may be worth:
The Sun himself has sent me like a ray,
To hint that he is coming up this way.”…

 

( Photo by NeoromantikA )

She married her handsome prince and they lived happily ever after…

I’m sure you’ve seen this meme in lots of fairy tales. A dream of so many Cinderellas. Is life with princes really so sweet and happy? With some princes it might be, but with others… let’s have a look at a few real life stories.

Praskovya (1767 – 1803)
( Photo from www.russia.rin.ru )

“I felt the most tender and passionate feelings for her” – Sheremetev wrote about Praskovya in 1809. … Not that it started out that way.

The young count was fond of hunting and of chasing girls: and until his father died in 1788, when he took up the running of the family estates, Nikolai Petrovich spent most of his time in these sensual pursuits. The young squire often claimed his “rights” over the serf girls. During the day, while they were at work, he would go around the rooms of the girls on the estate and drop a handkerchief through the window of his chosen one. That night he would visit her and, before he left, would ask her to return his handkerchief. …

It is not exactly clear when the count and Praskovya became de facto “man and wife”. To begin with, she was only one of several serf “divas” given special treatment by her master. He named his favourite singers and dancers after jewels – “the Emerald” (Kovaleva), “The Garnet” (Shlykova) and “The Pearl” (Praskovya)… Everything suggests that they were the count’s harem – not least the fact that just before his marriage to Praskovya he had the rest of them married off and gave them all dowries. …

By the beginning of the 1790s Praskovya had become Sheremetev’s unofficial wife. It was no longer just the pleasures of the flesh that attracted him to her but, as he said, the beauty of her mind and soul as well. For the next ten years the count would remain torn between his love for her and his own high position in society. He felt that it was morally wrong not to marry Praskovya but his aristocratic pride would not allow him to do so. Marriages to serfs were extremely rare in the status-obsessed culture of the eighteenth-century Russian aristocracy … and unthinkable for a nobleman as rich and grand as him…

In the theatre the public sympathized with the unequal lovers and applauded the basic Enlightment ideal that informed such works: that all people are equal. But it did not take the same view in real life… Praskovyas situation was extremely difficult. Resented by the serfs, she was also shunned by society. It was only through her strength of character that she managed to retain her dignity.”

( from Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes )

* * *

Jan van Leyden (1509-1536)
from www.answers.com

The Dutch Anabaptist Jan Van Leyden (John of Leiden 1509-1536) led the Anabaptist attempt to establish by force a “kingdom of God” in Münster, Germany. They terrorized the rest of the citizens, also in the name of equality but equal under John the despot, who kept a harem. The kingdom satisfied one of the recurrent dreams of the occidental mind: community of goods and of women.

The traditional story of the introduction of polygamy in Münster is that van Leyden introduced polygamy to satisfy his lust for Jan Matthijas’ wife Divara. There are also stories that tell of van Leyden being seen sneaking into the rooms of a woman other than his wife and introducing polygamy to legitimate his actions. Adding to the evidence suggesting that van Leyden’s personal desires were at play is the fact that he took more wives than any other citizen in Münster, eighteen.

One of the most important social factors leading to the introduction of polygamy was the imbalance between numbers of men and women in the city of Münster after the ejection of those who refused baptism. Estimates are that in 1534, almost three-quarters of the adult population of Münster was female. Many women who had lived in Münster prior to the expulsion of those who refused to submit to adult baptism were left when their husbands were expelled from the city. It appears that the women were not forcibly expelled with the men. Their husbands often left them in Münster with their children to maintain the household and businesses until the men were able to return. Although some of these women may have had sympathies with the Anabaptists, many of them are likely to have desired the return of exiled men. These women will have been seen as threats to the stability of the Anabaptist control of Münster.

Something was going to shift in the role women played in society. The situation could, for instance, have turned into a moment in history when women were granted additional rights and responsibilities in society. But with Jan van Leyden’s theology greater freedom for women was not in the cards.

On July 23, 1534, Jan van Leyden announced the institution of polygamy. He ordered that all marriages contracted under the previous system were no longer valid. All single women were to be married, including those whose husbands were no longer around. A man who impregnated his wife was required to take another, and a third if he impregnated the second.

John’s name still lives on in the Netherlands in the saying ‘zich met een Jan(tje) van Leiden van iets afmaken’, which means ‘getting something done with pretty but empty words’.

(from www.answers.com )

 * * *

Lev Tolstoy 1828 – 1910

“Tolstoy’s diaries are filled with details of his conquests of the female serfs on his estate – a diary he presented, according to the custom, to his bride Sonya on the eve of their wedding… In addition to the thirteen children Sonya bore, there were at least a dozen other children fathered by him in the villages of his estate.

Sonya was eighteen when she married Tolstoy – rather young by European standards but not by Russian ones. Eighteen was in fact the average age of marriage for women in nineteenth-century Russia – far younger than even in those pre-industrial parts of western Europe.

Later Tolstoy would confess that he had ‘acted badly and cruelly – as every husband acts towards his wife. I gave her all the hard work, the so-called “women’s work”, and went hunting or enjoyed myself.”

( from Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes )

* * *

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria
1899 – 1953

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. Beria is now remembered chiefly as the executor of Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s, even though he actually presided only over the closing stages of the purge. He was in charge of the Katyn executions, where over 22,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia were murdered.

Charges of sexual assault and sexual sadism against Beria were first made in the speech by a Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Nikolay Shatalin, at the Plenary Meeting of the committee on July 10, 1953, two weeks after Beria’s arrest. Shatalin said that Beria had had sexual relations with numerous women and that he had contracted syphilis as a result of his sex with prostitutes. Shatalin referred to a list (supposedly kept by Beria’s bodyguard) of over 25 women with whom Beria had sex. Over time, however, the charges became more dramatic. Khrushchev in his posthumously published memoirs wrote: “We were given a list of more than 100 names of women. They were dragged to Beria by his people. And he had the same trick for them all: all who got to his house for the first time, Beria would invite for a dinner and would propose to drink for the health of Stalin. And in wine, he would mix in some sleeping pills…” Afterwards he would drop off his charge and the chaffuer would give them a boquet of flowers. One pregnant victim, having refused his advances, was accidentally given the flowers. On noticing Beria shouted “it’s not a boquet, it’s a wreath. May they rot on your grave”. She was later arrested.

By the 1980s, the sexual assault stories about Beria included the rape of teenage girls. The author Anton Antonov-Ovseenko, who wrote a biography of Beria, mentions in an interview a specific sexual game Beria is said to have forced upon young girls before picking one of them to be raped. This alleged practice got the name “Beria’s Flower Game”.

Numerous stories have circulated over the years involving Beria personally beating, torturing and killing his victims.

( from Wikipedia )

* * *

Uday

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti
18 June 1964 – 22 July 2003

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti (Arabic: عُدي صدّام حُسين‎) was the eldest son of Saddam Hussein from his first wife, Sajida Talfah, and the brother of Qusay Hussein.

He was a monster even by the standards of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a sadist with a taste for cruelty so extreme that even his father was forced to acknowledge that his first-born son would not be a worthy heir.

Uday’s excesses carried over in his private life where he had a reputation for ordering any girl or woman who caught his eye to be brought to his private pleasure dome.

A report released on 20 March 2003, one day after the American led invasion of Iraq, by ABC news detailed several allegations against Uday, including:

  • Kidnapping young Iraqi women from the streets in order to rape them. Uday was known to intrude on parties and otherwise “discover” women whom he would later rape. Time published an article in 2003 detailing his sexual brutality.
  • Beating an army officer unconscious when the man refused to allow Uday to dance with his wife; the man later died of his injuries. Uday also shot and killed an army officer who did not salute him.

From Wikipedia and
Uday: career of rape, torture and murder

 * * *

Russian proverb from the “good old days”: “Do not promote me to Corporal, but do not touch my wife”

Ox
( Photo by blast99 )

THE END

The Fisherman and the Golden Fish

by Alexander Pushkin, 1835
Translated by Irina Zheleznova, 1986
from The Russian wonderland.

There once lived an old man and his good-wife
On the shore of the deep blue ocean;
They lived in a tumble-down hovel
For thirty-three summers and winters.
The old man used to fish for his living,
And his wife spun yarn on her distaff.
He once cast his net in the ocean,
And pulled it up with mud from the bottom;
He again cast his net in the ocean,
And this time caught nothing but seaweed;
When he cast his net for the third time,
One fish was all that he landed,
No common fish, though, but a goldfish.
Now the goldfish began to implore him,
And it spoke like a real human being:
«Put me back, old man, into the ocean –
I will pay you a right royal ransom,
I wilt give you whatever you ask me.»
The old man was astonished and frightened –
He’d been fishing for thirty-three summers,
Bat had not heard of any fish talking.
So with care he untangled the goldfish
And tenderly said as he did so:
«God bless you, my dear little goldfish!
Thank you kindly, I don’t want your ransom.
Go back to your home in the ocean,
And roam where you will without hindrance.»

To his wife the old fisherman hastened
To tell her about this great marvel.
«I caught only one fish this morning –
A goldfish it was, most uncommon;
It spoke like a Christian, and begged me
To put it back into the ocean,
And promised to pay a rich ransom,
To give me whatever I asked for.
But how could I ask for a ransom?
I released it without any payment.»
His wife started scolding her husband:
«Oh you simpleton! Oh yon great silly!
Couldn’t make a mere fish pay a ransom!
You at least might have asked for a wash-tub –
For ours is all falling to pieces!»

The old man returned to the seashore,
Where the blue waves were frolicking lightly.
He called out aloud for the goldfish,
And the goldfish swam up and demanded:
«What is it, old man, you are wanting?»
With a bow, the old man said in answer:
«Forgive me, Your Majesty Goldfish!
My old woman has scolded me roundly –
Won’t leave me alone for a minute,
She says that she wants a new wash-tub,
For ours is all falling to pieces.»
The goldfish murmured in answer:
«Do not worry, go home, God be with you –
Very well, you shall have a new wash-tub.»

To his wife the old fisherman hastened,
And behold – there it was, the new wash-tub.
But she scolded him louder than ever:
«Oh you simpleton! Oh you great silly!
To ask for a tub—a mere wash-tub!
What good can you get from a wash-tab?
Return to the goldfish, you silly,
Bow down low and ask for a cottage.»

Again he went back to the seashore,
And this time the blue sea was troubled.
He called out aloud for the goldfish,
And the goldfish swam up and demanded:
«What is it, old man, you are wanting?»
With a bow, the old man said in answer:
«Forgive me, Your Majesty Goldfish!
My old woman is angrier than ever,
Won’t leave me alone for a minute –
The old scold says she wants a new cottage.»
The goldfish murmured in answer:
«Do not worry, go home, God be with you!
So be it! You’ll have a new cottage!»
So back the old man turned his footsteps;
Not a sign did he see of his hovel.
In its place stood a new gabled cottage,
With a chimney of brick, newly whitewashed,
A fence with oak gates stood around it;
And there sat his wife at a window;
When she saw him, she scolded him roundly:
«Oh you simpleton! Oh you great silly!
To ask for no more than a cottage!
Go and bow to the goldfish, and tell it
That I’m tired of being a peasant,
That I want to be made a fine lady.»

The old man then returned to the seashore,
Where the ocean was restlessly foaming,
He called out aloud for the goldfish.
The goldfish swam up and demanded:
«What is it, old man, you are wanting?»
With a bow, the old man said in answer:
«Forgive me, Your Majesty Goldfish!
My old woman is madder than ever,
She gives me no rest for a second,
Says she’s tired of being a peasant,
And wants to be made a fine lady.»
The goldfish murmured in answer:
«Do not worry, go home, God be with you.»

To his wife the old fisherman hastened,
And what did he see? – a tall mansion;
On its white marble stairs – his old woman.
She was wearing a rich sable jacket,
And s head-dress, in gold all embroidered;
Her neck was with pearls heavy laden;
She wore golden rings on her fingers;
She was shod in the softest red leather;
Zealous servants bowed meekly before her,
As she cuffed them and rated them roundly.
The old man then approached his wife, saying.
«Greetings, your ladyship, greetings, fine lady!
Now I hope that your soul is contented!»
She angrily bade him be silent
And sent him to serve in the stables.

First a week slowly passed, then another,
The old woman grew prouder than ever.
One morning she sent for her husband,
And said: «Bow to the goldfish and tell it
I am tired of being a lady,
And I want to be made a Tsaritsa.»
Her husband implored her in terror,
Saying: «Woman – you’ve surely gone crazy!
You can’t even talk like a lady!
You’d be mocked at all over the kingdom!
His old woman grew madder than ever,
Slapped his face and then shouted in passion:
«How dare you, muzhik, stand and argue,
Stand and argue with me, a fine lady?
Go at once – if you don’t, then I warn you,
You’ll be dragged to the shore, willy-nilly.»

The old man went down to the seashore
(The ocean was swollen and sullen).
He called out aloud for the goldfish,
And the goldfish swam up and demanded:
«What is it, old man, yon are wanting?»
With a bow, the old man said in answer:
«Forgive me, Your Majesty Goldfish!
Again my old woman’s gone crazy!
Now she’s tired of being a lady!
She wants to be made a Tsaritsa.
The goldfish murmured in answer:
Do not worry, go home, God be with you!
Very well! She shall be a Tsaritsa!»

To his wife the old fisherman hastened,
And what did he see? A grand palace;
In the palace he saw his old woman,
At the table she sat, a Tsaritsa,
Attended by nobles and boyards;
They were pouring choice wines in her goblet,
She was nibbling sweet gingerbread wafers;
Around her, grim guards stood in silence,
With halberds upon their broad shoulders.
The old man was aghast when he saw this,
He bowed to her feet and said humbly:
«Greetings, Oh mighty Tsaritsa!
Now I hope that your soul is contented!»
But she gave not a glance at her husband –
She ordered him thrust from her presence.
The boyards and nobles all hastened
And drove him with blows from the chamber;
The guards at the door waved their halberds
And threatened to cut him to pieces.
All the people derided him, saying.
«Serves you right, now, you ill-bred old fellow.
You churl – this will teach you a lesson,
To keep to your station in future!»

First a week slowly passed, then another;
The old woman grew prouder than ever.
She sent for her husband one morning, And her chamberlain haled him before her.
The old woman spoke thus to her husband:
«Go, bow to the goldfish, and tell it
That I’m tired of being Tsaritsa,
Of the seas I want to be mistress,
With my home in the blue ocean waters;
The goldfish I want for my servant
To do my commands and my errands.»

The old man durst not contradict her,
Nor open his lips to make answer.
He sadly set out for the seashore.
A tempest raged over the ocean,
Its waters were swollen and angry,
Its billows were boiling with fury.
He called out aloud for the goldfish.
The goldfish swam up and demanded:
«What is it, old man, you are wanting?»
With a bow, the old man said in answer;
«Forgive me, Your Majesty Goldfish!
What shall I do with my cursed old woman?
She is tired of being Tsaritsa,
Of the seas she now wants to be mistress,
With her home in the blue ocean waters;
She wants you to be her own servant,
To do her commands and her errands.»
Not a word spoke the goldfish in answer,
It just swished its tail, and in silence
Disappeared in the depths of the ocean.
He waited in vain for an answer,
And at last turned his steps to the palace;
And behold – there again stood his hovel;
On the doorstep sat his old woman,
With the same broken wash-tab before her.

THE END.

* * *

“Not all domestic abuse by women is physical. Some women resort to psychological abuse. They constantly put their partner down, damage his property, misuse money, control his contact with family and friends, use sex as a weapon, treat him as he were a boarder, lock him in or out of the house, or make false allegations of violence against him… One of the greatest weapons abusive women have are their children. Threats to harm or take away the children can be an extremely effective way to get men to toe the line.”

(From What Men Don’t Talk About  by Maggie Hamilton)

* * *

Stop Abuse for Everyone:  www.safe4all.org/

Battered Men – The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence: www.batteredmen.com

Male abuse by women: is it real? www.cyberparent.com/abuse/maleabuse.htm

Abuse does not have to be physical: http://www.recovery-man.com/abusive/abusive.htm

MENZ Issues: www.menz.org.nz

 

The Rape of Lucrece

( by William Shakespeare, 1594
an excerpt from The Rape of Lucrece )

‘The Rape of Lucretia’ by Titian ( 1485-1576 )

…Imagine her as one in dead of night
From forth dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking,
That thinks she hath beheld some ghastly sprite,
Whose grim aspect sets every joint a-shaking;
What terror ’tis! but she, in worser taking,
From sleep disturbed, heedfully doth view
The sight which makes supposed terror true.

Wrapped and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new-killed bird she trembling lies;
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appears
Quick-shifting antics, ugly in her eyes.
“Such shadows are the weak brain’s forgeries,
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights,
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.

His hand that yet remains upon her breast-
Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall!-
May feel her heart, poor citizen, distressed,
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
This moves in him more rage and lesser pity,
To make the breach and enter this sweet city.

First like a trumpet doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe,
Who o’er the white sheet peers her whiter chin,
The reason of this rash alarm to know,
Which he by dumb demeanour seeks to show;
But she with vehement prayers urgeth still
Under what colour he commits this ill.

Thus he replies: ‘The colour in thy face,
That even for anger makes the lily pale
And the red rose blush at her own disgrace,
Shall plead for me and tell my loving tale.
Under that colour am I come to scale
Thy never-conquered fort. The fault is thine,
For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine.

‘Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide:
Thy beauty hath ensnared thee to this night,
Where thou with patience must my will abide,
My will that marks thee for my earth’s delight,
Which I to conquer sought with all my might;
But as reproof and reason beat it dead,
By thy bright beauty was it newly bred.

‘I see what crosses my attempt will bring;
I know what thorns the growing rose defends;
I think the honey guarded with a sting;
All this beforehand counsel comprehends.
But will is deaf and hears no heedful friends;
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
And dotes on what he looks, ‘gainst law or duty.

‘I have debated, even in my soul,
What wrong, what shame, what sorrow I shall breed;
But nothing can affection’s course control,
Or stop the headlong fury of his speed.
I know repentant tears ensue the deed,
Reproach, disdain and deadly enmity;
Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy.’

This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which, like a falcon tow’ring in the skies,
Coucheth the fowl below with his wings’ shade,
Whose crooked beak threats if he mount he dies.
So under his insulting falchion lies
Harmless Lucretia, marking what he tells
With trembling fear, as fowl hear falcons’ bells.
‘Lucrece,’ quoth he, ‘this night I must enjoy thee.
If thou deny, then force must work my way,
For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee;
That done, some worthless slave of thine I’ll slay,
To kill thine honour with thy life’s decay;
And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him,
Swearing I slew him, seeing thee embrace him…

* * *

THE ARGUMENT

Lucius Tarquinius, for his excessive pride surnamed Superbus, after he had caused his own father-in-law Servius Tullius to be
cruelly murdered, and, contrary to the Roman laws and customs, not requiring or staying for the people’s suffrages, had possessed himself of the kingdom, went accompanied with his sons and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea. During which siege the principal men of the army meeting one evening at the tent of Sextus Tarquinius, the king’s son, in their discourses after supper every one commended the virtues of his own wife; among whom Collatinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife Lucretia. In that pleasant humour they all posted to Rome; and intending, by their secret and sudden arrival, to make trial of that which every one had before avouched, only Collatinus finds his wife, though it were late in the night, spinning amongst her maids: the other ladies were all found dancing and revelling, or in several disports. Whereupon the noblemen yielded Collatinus the victory, and his wife the fame. At that time Sextus Tarquinius being inflamed with Lucrece’ beauty, yet smothering his passions for the present, departed with the rest back to the camp; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew himself, and was, according to his estate, royally entertained and lodged by Lucrece at Collatium. The same night he treacherously stealeth into her chamber, violently ravished her, and early in the morning speedeth away. Lucrece, in this lamentable plight, hastily dispatcheth messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Collatine. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habit, demanded the cause of her sorrow. She, first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor and whole manner of his dealing, and withal suddenly stabbed herself.

* * *

On December 13, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army stormed the Chinese city of Nanking, and during the following six weeks, 300,000 people were killed and over 20,000 women were raped. ( from Nanking Massacre )

 

Rape victims. Nanking.

* * *

Sexual violence targeting women and girls has been used in all recent conflicts, including in the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, India (Kashmir), Rwanda, Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Sudan, East Timor, Liberia, Algeria, the Russian Federation (Chechnya), and northern Uganda. ( Human Rights Watch )

 * * *

The Voroshilov Shooter (Voroshilovsky Strelok, 1999 ) – a revenge drama with a very typical post-Soviet era storyline. A bunch of vagabonds lured an innocent teenage girl to their apartment, offered her a drink, intimidated then gang raped her. Local cops are incapable to undertake an adequate action against the scoundrels – prevented by the superior chief of the local police (militia) which is the dad of one of the scumbags. The case is closed. The girl’s grand-dad, tired of endless circumlocution decides to take revenge on his own.

* * *

– Rape, sometimes also called sexual assault, can happen to both men and women of any age.

– Rape is often more about power, not sex.

– One out of three women worldwide has experienced rape or sexual assault.

– 84% of women did not report their rapes to police. (From The National Women’s Study (Kilpatrick, Edmunds, and Seymour, 1992).

– In a recent survey in Ireland of 3000 randomly selected adults 3% of the men reported having been raped, while 28% said they had been sexually assaulted or abused. (from “What men don’t talk about” by Maggie Hamilton).

– Ratio of victims by gender: female 1.5 : male 0.2 (from “The experience of sexual assault: Findings from a statewide victim needs assessment”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20 (6): 767-776)

– Rape victims are 13 times more likely to contemplate suicide than non-victims and 1 in 8 will actually attempt suicide. (www.aworldwithoutrape.org )

– Conservative figures estimate that one in six inmates experiences rape in prison ( www.rapeis.org )